30 May, 2024


“Insights With Harsha: Smart Policies & Economic Revival” Event Highlights Key Policy Points For Sri Lanka’s Growth

A recent event organized by Dr. Harsha de Silva‘s team, titled “Insights with Harsha: Smart Policies & Economic Revival,” brought to light key policy discussions essential for Sri Lanka’s economic revitalization. During the event MP Harsha de Silva, Chairman of COPF, addressed critical issues, starting with the pressing need for tax reform. He highlighted that tax revenue currently stands at only 8% of GDP, a stark contrast to the 20% it once represented during President Premadasa’s time. Harsha emphasized the importance of revenue rationalization while ensuring fairness in the tax system.

Dr. Harsha de Silva MP

Another vital issue raised during the event was the adoption of cost-based tariffs or cost-reflective pricing. Harsha noted that this approach reduces government expenditure that would otherwise be used to support loss-making enterprises. He cited an example of the recent need for LKR 231.5 billion to cover payments to CPC for fuel, illustrating how mispricing can place a burden on taxpayers.

The event also emphasized the need for reforms with a focus on empathy. Harsha’s vision is to instill hope in the youth by demonstrating that meaningful reforms can pave the way for a brighter future. He stressed the importance of committed leaders who understand the challenges faced by the younger generation.

Audience questions covered various topics, including demonetization, VAT increases, the brain drain, and the development of skilled labor. Harsha’s responses highlighted the need for growth, trade, and investment policy reforms, as well as technology adoption to drive total factor productivity.

A notable point raised during the event was the need for Sri Lanka to invest in skills development, similar to the successful approach in Tamil Nadu. Harsha emphasized that to propel the nation forward, the workforce must be equipped with the right skills. Tamil Nadu’s 550 engineering schools at various levels produce the talent required by various industries, helping the state aspire to achieve a trillion-dollar GDP by 2030. This underscores the importance of nurturing a skilled labor force.

Harsha also touched upon the topic of demonetization, drawing on India’s experience. He acknowledged both advantages and disadvantages but underscored the potential for transitioning towards a cashless and digital society through the adoption of e-wallets and digital identification systems like Aadhar. Harsha highlighted that achieving a cashless society should rely on regulation and incentives rather than abrupt demonetization, driving Sri Lanka into a more digitized future.

Regarding protectionism and protectionist lobbies, Harsha advocated for a change in mindset, highlighting the importance of open trade agreements and knowledge transfer. He outlined the social market economy plan of the SJB and the significance of transparency, accountability, automation, and efficient tax administration in building a new social contract that renews hope.

Discussions also revolved around addressing the factors of production—land and labor. Harsha emphasized the need for a cadastral registry to enable a transparent marketplace for land transactions. Such a move would boost the land market’s efficiency and drive economic growth.

Harsha suggested reevaluating the Termination of Workmen Act and exploring more progressive alternatives, considering the evolving nature of today’s business cycles and the incentives required to promote entrepreneurship. This will encourage entrepreneurs to take calculated risks. He also proposed implementing a transitional unemployment benefits scheme, funded jointly by the state and businesses. This mechanism would provide financial support during challenging economic periods, reducing the burden on employers.

The event concluded with Harsha’s vision to address the bloated state sector through measures such as ‘golden handshakes,’ privatization, and other key reforms. Harsha advocated reallocating resources to sectors vital for the nation’s development, noting that for a country not engaged in war, Sri Lanka maintains one of the highest per capita military budgets globally. 

MP Harsha de Silva closed the event with a message of hope and the call to unite like-minded individuals for the betterment of Sri Lanka.

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Latest comments

  • 9

    Harsha, my friend through another friend, was on the RW side during the Yahapana government too. They agreed on an economic triangle to uplift the Sri Lankan economy, however, Polonnaruwa Balla had no brain to see it beyond that. SO the green light was obstructed. That is their setback in that government.
    I would like to see this intellectual join any future government regardless of political stance to build this country economically.
    He has been right and again about opening Sri Lanka’s barriers to the world, paving the way for trade agreements bilaterally and multilaterally. Vietnam, India, Indonesia, Ethiopia and several countries capitalize on it on a large scale manner today.
    NPPrs are also moving in a comparable direction of thought now, how intense they were before with such movements. . They now seem to have moderated their thoughts on international relations.
    Hearing some of AKD’s public speeches in his curret ROUND/ROBIN tours to the US, I was compelled to ask, their economic blue prints wouldn’t be that different. While the likes of Harsha have already gathered experience by being able to do what is prescribed, the herd of so-called “intellectuals” behind the NPPs come with only paper qualifications. Latter is becoming clearer with AKDs explanations given to some audiences raised the questions.

  • 7

    ‘Harsha’s vision to address the bloated state sector through measures such as ‘golden handshakes,’ privatization, and other key reforms’
    Well said Harsha, why don’t you start with the bloated cabinet, the expensive Presidential office, cutting down generous pensions & perks of MPs. By the way, do MP’s pay income tax? How right you are when you say ”for a country not engaged in war, Sri Lanka maintains one of the highest per capita military budgets globally”. Will you give golden handshakes to all those retired military yobs or just foot soldiers to keep the city clean like GR?

  • 1

    All these fraud talks are matters of cheating the people.. If 10% of the lost money is recovered, then the country’s entire loan can be paid. Why do you have to squeeze people for 25% of the income through tax? They all are there to save the Old Rowdies from their crimes. That always gets translated as high crime and highly corrupted country. Evil, in his time, removed Mangala and selected this guy to go to UNHRC. UNHRC gave him 210 suggestions and requests to implement. This crook fooled UNHRC, by voluntarily adding another 50 and made the requests as 260 and came home as a hero Knight of the Evil Emperor. Did any one of these guys break the secret of the cabinet which planned the 4/21 Sinhala Buddhist Jihadism? Will this guy voluntarily write a series of articles in CT about his share of 4/21, so we can test his honesty by few questions? He left Yahapalanaya with dissatisfaction that the Evil did not give him any cabinet position. So, he is finding fault with Evil. Can this guy explain why the Langkang cricket team could not play in the final after Murali left the team? I hear only a few NPP MPs have declared their assets. What about this guy’s case? Langkang is a failed country in all aspects, not just in income.

  • 5

    This fellow is a great pretender, who runs with the hares while hunting with the wolves. He uses his “smartness” or doctorate as leverage to win over the fools who believe his words. He is a full member of the gang that destroyed the country and impoverished its people.

  • 2

    In my books, Harsha lost all credibility when he swore time and time again that the VW factory in Kuliyapitiya would become a reality. He displayed his lack of knowledge on how large global companies operate. Great theoretician though, very affable and articulate – just like his schoolmate EW.

    • 2

      “Great theoretician”
      hmmm… I wonder!

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